The second straight day of my kids being home from school because of dangerous wind chills has me getting fairly loopy. Especially given that there’s not a ton of baseball news happening.
So I’ve been diving into Wikipedia, watching old episodes of “You Can’t Do That on Television,” listening to Atlanta Rhythm Section records and generally entering that zone where sociologists might be able to identify hermits and hoarders and other similarly afflicted people. Also: my annual depressive urge to completely drop out of society, get in my car and drive someplace where I can’t be found by anyone has hit earlier than usual. Just a weird week.
Among the positives, however, I learned that the United States Army once had a general named Charles Bonesteel who wore an eyepatch. How did I get to 40 without knowing this? How did this man not either overthrow the government with a crack squad of evil commandos or die trying? His name was GENERAL BONESTEEL AND HE WORE AN EYEPATCH for cryin’ out loud.
Something else I learned and, frankly, do not know how I hadn’t heard it before given the sorts of people I talk to on the Internet: Guided by Voices leader Robert Pollard was an excellent college pitcher for Wright State University at one time. And he threw a no-hitter. This started making the rounds among my Internet friends this morning and it’s fantastic:
And here I thought “Hold on Hope” was the most beautiful thing he did.
(h/t to, like, 10 people who put this on my Facebook page today)
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.